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Marketing techniques and ideas used today are not that new. They have been in application since the industrial revolution that allowed mass production of goods. However, they have continuously evolved to cope with current challenges and also exploit arising opportunities. This paper expounds and explains how this has happened over time. Additionally, the forces that have influenced this process of evolution of modern marketing are discussed.
Production of goods and services dates back to the origin of man. Man for a long time had to do what it takes to get what he wanted. Man begun with hunting and then moved to domestication of crops and animals, farming, processing, and manufacturing among others. Initially, the idea was simply production as technology and the level of knowledge did not allow for production of surplus. Sometimes, the amount produced was barely enough for subsistence (Beckwith 1997).
Afterwards, man had evolved enough and could produce enough to store for a rainy day, and later on, he learned the art of exchanging what he had with what he did not have. This created commerce. Later, some people started producing for the purpose of selling, and this further promoted trade.
With agricultural and industrial revolution, the amount produced increased greatly to a point where the society could not take all of it. Therefore, means of generating more demand had to be found. Means of persuading people to increase their consumption were created (Saini 2008). Additionally, entrepreneurs came up with products that never existed before (through product diversification) and began to convince people to consume.
Over the time, human beings have developed. The number of professions and vocations that are acceptable by people increased significantly as needs of people kept increasing by the day. On the other hand, entrepreneurs were getting more innovative on ways of holistically meeting and reacting to all human needs. This has been the reason for development of marketing as a profession. Marketing can be viewed as the process of holistically responding to needs of a society. It is the process of projecting, anticipating, and satisfying the needs of a society at a profit (Jones & Kirby 2002).
In marketing today, the approach is not simply to sell to the society but to foster a good relationship between a firm and the society. Societies’ needs have expanded. For instance, challenges such as pollution, global warming among other have to be addressed effectively. For the same reason, the society is likely to readily accept firms that respond to such issues appropriately. However, as highlighted earlier, modern day marketing was greatly driven by mass production.
Mass production came as a solution to many problems. The first issue that mass production solved was the cost of the products. While companies, such as Daimler and Benz, were producing a car at a time, Ford Company in the US was trying and researching on how to produce in mass. After this firm was able to produce in mass, the cost of each unit of vehicle reduced greatly, and vehicles became affordable to the majority. However, with this new breakthrough, new challenges came up in that some companies started producing more than what could be absorbed by the market.
There was a need to find a solution to this new challenge and firms had to respond to it. Firms, such as the makers of Chrysler brands, started advertising. In addition, other marketing strategies were to be sort, which focused on making products more appealing to the public. Chrysler Company went into actual research to establish what consumers needed. This strategy is very crucial and has been extremely important i modern-day marketing. It has brought about what is referred to as market-oriented production.
At this early time, Chrysler established that consumers were looking for a vehicle that would roll and remain almost intact. They integrated the rolling cage to reduce effects of crashing and impact. Later on, the company also realized that buyers wanted to have vehicles that had large spaces in their trunks. For this reason, the models that followed in the 30s and 40s had this feature. In addition, they integrated this in their advertisements that helped their products be more appealing to the market. Due to this innovation, this company was able to sell more units and also increase their marginal revenue.
Today more than ever, this strategy is utilized at various stages of production. This has happened to a great extent that even new firms beginning today have to come up with a marketing plan before production plan. The principle here is to ensure that a firm knows very well what consumers want and delivers exactly that. Firms today are carrying out very detailed research to understand what buyers need in terms of price and quality among other factors (Jacobs 1999). For this reason, buyers readily buy products, and this enables mass production as very many units are sold.
Another marketing strategy that is greatly emphasized today involves ensuring that the business is easily accessible to consumers or potential buyers. This has even been taken as one of the greatest laws of marketing (Lamont 2002). This closeness between firms and buyers can take many forms and can either be physical or other forms. For instance, many firms today have their outlets in urban areas. This includes all companies starting from the mighty ones such as the Volkswagen or McDonalds. This principle begun with mass production, which was meant to make consumers remember that a certain product exists.
Apart from physical closeness, firms learned to stay close to consumers through availing the information that can lead to consumers buying their products. Advertisement came around in the early 20th century. Various products such as cigarettes, vehicles, and drugs were advertised, and many buyers started being informed, advised, or persuaded to buy. This was very crucial as it helps boost consumption and profitability for firms and hence increase production (Baker & Hart 2008).
Today, this strategy continues to evolve and better ways of keeping consumers closer to producers are being developed by the day. For instance, the Internet is widely used today. As a result, no firm waits for potential buyers to find it, on the contrary, they avail information to everyone. This enables buyers to stay on the known zone. Additionally, many firms have introduced platforms in which members of the public can air their views concerning firms, their products, and innovations. Contrary to old days when ideas of potential buyers could not easily be passed to firms, today there are well developed channels to achieve this and boost sales.
Another marketing strategy that came with mass production involved firms being useful. Actually, what brought about mass production were people’s needs. Firms then produced products, which they thought were needed by people. This is also the case today. Many innovations and businesses are created to satisfy people's needs. What marketers of today have added to this principle is tuning buyers' minds to a point at which they wonder how they have been existing without the new product (Hall & Stamp 2003). This marketing principle has also been utilized in the modern world to drive innovations that have completely revolutionized human lives. The rule is simple, entrepreneurs and firms are focusing on coming up with produccts that are readily taken up by people as a way of being useful.
Another challenge that was brought about by mass production was loss of touch between producers and consumers. Before the coming of mass production, producers and consumers related on a personal basis as they exchanged products and services. However, the coming of mass production changed producers, who turned in large firms. The level of trust that existed between these two groups was eroded.
Additionally, any information that was released by producers for consumers was with accepted with suspicion. Firms had to come up with crafty ways for consumers to gain this information. Many firms have since allowed consumers to pass along. This makes consumers see for themselves and believe. This is a very powerful means of convincing people. In addition, it also allows buyers to go and convince their trusted friends, and this altogether increases sale. Strategies, such as sales showrooms and exhibitions, are informed by this reasoning. Additionally, firms and marketers understand that many of their potential consumers cannot resist the temptation to buy on impulse and often expose them to such tempting situation to boost sales (Bornstein 2004). This was utilized as a remedy to mass production and also applies greatly in today’s marketing.
Mass production increased production of undesirable wastes. In those days, the type of energy in use created many problems and greatly polluted the environment (Zaleznik 1990). Later on, the society and activists tried to hold firms accountable for their actions. Many firms responded to this while others ignored. Later on, it was found out that most of the firms that ignored this call collapsed as many people did not want to identify with them or buy their products. The secret was simple. Consumers wanted firms that would listen to them and respond to their needs holistically.
Listening to a community in which a firm operates is very crucial and determines whether a firm succeeds or fails. A firm that responds to this appropriately is perceived as caring and succeeds as the society accepts its products, and this increases profitability. Research shows that public relations and good publicity increase sales and hence profitability. A modern version of this marketing strategy are Corporate Social Responsibility techniques. In this, firms try to prove to consumers that they care for them (Oster 1994). They also try to show their responsibility to the society while giving back to the society that has natured them. This has had a great impact on boosting sales for large multinational companies. This strategy is also evolving further to encompass all aspects of human life.
Another marketing strategy that came up with mass production involves creating a strong brand. Although branding is more of product promotion than marketing, this term is used here to show step-by-step development of a product to get a strong brand (Mooij 2005). Firms do not really have to design their product and force consumers to buy it. Instead, they have to follow consumer specification over time and gain widespread acceptance. Many large firms understand the power of this strategy and are very careful to involve consumer input over time. Such firms do very little of advertising but much of collection of consumer views. They are also very versatile and do not rush over things. This makes them continue surviving beyond all age limits. This is particularly favourable for mass production as it requires running for a long time as the capital investment is very high (Pooler 2003).
All the above ideas and marketing strategies continue to evolve and change. This is happening as the world is changing bringing in new dimensions to old standpoints.
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